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Bibliography on COVID-19 and Addiction
This downloadable document lists articles found in PubMed from searches on 03 August 2020 involving addiction-related topics and COVID-19. It is updated weekly and all publications prior to January 2020 have been removed. The headings and search phrases are provided and results are organised into 1) research reports, 2) reviews and 3) editorials, commentaries, and letters. Download the document here:/files/download/documents/03 Aug Covid-19 bibliography.docx
Guatemala imposes martial law on regions affected by drug trafficking
The Guatemalan president, Alejandro Giammattei, has imposed a 30-day state of siege on five municipalities in north-eastern provinces of the country. The measures will give powers of detention and interrogation to authorities, whilst restricting freedom of movement and the right of residents to gather. The action is intended to restore order in areas dominated by criminal gangs and drug trafficking. A similar state of martial law was declared in the same municipalities in 2019 by the previous president.
Nigerian public health groups oppose tobacco industry draft policy
The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) has opposed the ‘Draft Policy on Conventional Tobacco and Non-Combusted Alternatives to Cigarette Smoking’ proposed by the tobacco industry. The proposal, being considered by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Industry, advocates for regulations that would encourage smokers to switch from combustible cigarettes to heated tobacco products (HTPs). The NTCA argues that the proposal is misleading and that it discredits recommendations by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
US approves cannabidiol to treat tuberous sclerosis complex seizures
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a cannabidiol (CBD) based medicine, Epidiolex, for treating seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). Epidiolex has already been approved in the US for treating seizures caused by Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes.
Ban on alcohol sales in Kenya due to COVID-19 pandemic
The Kenyan government has announced a ban on alcohol sales to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All bars have been ordered to remain closed as part of a nationwide curfew that has been extended for a month and will now run until late August 2020.
France introduces new tobacco importation restrictions
New regulations have been introduced in France, limiting foreign tobacco imports. The new decree will reduce import allowances to 200 cigarettes (previously 800), 100 cigarillos (previously 400), 50 cigars (previously 200) and 250g of smoking tobacco (previously 1kg). The new restrictions will apply to both individual and collective transportations.
US state of Ohio bans alcohol sales during COVID-19 pandemic
Ohio has introduced a ban on alcohol sales after 10pm in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The new restrictions also prohibit alcohol consumption after 11pm to limit social gatherings. The order takes effect immediately.
Mexican poppy cultivation declines by a quarter
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has reported a 27% decrease in poppy cultivation in Mexico during 2019. The drop follows 2 years of record high levels of coca cultivation. The ONDCP claims that the recent decline in production has contributed to the 7% drop in heroin-related deaths across the US.
Increased coca cultivation in Peru
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has reported that coca cultivation in Peru increased from 52,100 hectares in 2018 to 72,000 in 2019. This means that the total pure cocaine production in Peru could reach 705 tons. The rise in cultivation has occurred despite US backed eradication efforts by the Peru government in high coca production areas such as Puno and in the Valley of the Apurímac, Eve and Mantaro Rivers (VRAEM).
Drug driving checkpoints introduced in Ireland
Due to an increase in drug-driving related offences, Ireland will introduce checkpoints across the country to identify people driving under the influence of illicit substances. So far in 2020, there has been a 106% increase in drug driving offences in Ireland compared with the same period in 2019.
US state of Georgia raises minimum tobacco purchase age to 21
Georgia has become the most recent US state to raise the minimum age for buying and selling tobacco to 21. The legislation also makes it illegal for anyone aged under 21 to possess tobacco or vaping products. Those violating this legislation could face community service or have their driver’s license revoked.
New Zealand police test handheld drug screening device
Police officers in New Zealand will trial a new drug screening device which allows for real-time testing for the most common illicit drugs. The Lumi Drug Scan device, developed by forensic scientists, enables officers to scan packages and provides instantaneous results, making it easier for officials to detect methamphetamine, MDMA and cocaine.
Juul applies to continue selling vaping products in the US
Vaping company Juul Labs Inc. has submitted an application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seeking authorisation to continue selling its vaping products. The application is a mandatory process required by all vaping companies and approval will be important for Juul’s strategy to advertise their products as appropriate for public consumption. Juul are currently authorised to sell vaping products for 1 year until official approval is decided.
Increased smoking cessation in Turkey attributed to COVID-19 pandemic
Turkish Green Crescent, a non-profit organisation that works to address alcohol, tobacco and other addictions, reported that the number of people asking for smoking cessation advice has quadrupled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost 85% of respondents to a survey of smokers and recent former smokers in Turkey said that they believed smoking had a negative impact on treatment for COVID-19 and that this belief had caused them to cut down on smoking.
Thailand legalises blended medical cannabis for health promotion hospitals
The Thai government has approved blending cannabis with other pharmaceutical products for medicinal purposes. Under new legislation, 17 formulations have been approved by the Ministry of Public Health for use in health promotion hospitals. Thailand was the first south-east Asian country to legalise medical cannabis, in 2019.
Russia increases fines for selling naswar and snus tobacco products
The Russian parliament has approved an amendment to the Administrative Offense Code to increase the fines for selling naswar (chewing tobacco) and snus. Under the new rules, individuals found selling either product will be fined 15,000 to 20,000 rubles (approx. $200 to $280) with higher fines stipulated for officials ($420 to $700) and companies ($1,400 to $2100). Those fines will be doubled in cases where those tobacco products are sold to children. The previous maximum fine was 5,000 rubles ($70).
Argentina legalises medical cannabis cultivation
Argentina’s government has changed its medical cannabis laws to allow patients to grow cannabis at home and to allow sales of medical cannabis in pharmacies across the country. Home cultivation will now be allowed for people with registered, and relevant, health conditions. Medical cannabis was legalised in Argentina in 2017; however, many patients struggle to obtain medical cannabis products. Previously, home cultivation of medical cannabis by patients was punishable by a prison sentence of up to 15 years.
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issues naloxone guidelines
New guidelines issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to US doctors recommend that doctors should discuss naloxone with all patients who are prescribed opioid painkillers. Doctors are also advised to provide information on how to source, and use, naloxone and to consider prescribing naloxone for patients with a history of opioid dependence.
Nicaragua increases drug money seizures while drug seizures decline
Nicaraguan police seized $10.5m from illicit drug traders in the first 6 months of 2020. This continues a year-on-year increase in the value of cash seizures. In 2017, police seized $6m; this rose to $12m in 2019. Most seizures occurred in the border regions of Nicaragua along the Pacific coast. Despite this increase, seizures of cocaine in the region have reduced over the past 10 years, with 36 tons of cocaine seized between 2007 and 2009 compared with just 16 tons seized between 2017 and 2019.
US dietary guidelines propose reduced alcohol limits
Ahead of the scheduled update of the US government’s dietary guidelines later this year, the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has recommended tighter alcohol recommendations for men. The current guidelines suggest that men should limit themselves to two drinks per day; however, the committee of experts warned that there was insufficient evidence for this limit and has recommended that this is reduced to one drink per day, matching the current guidelines for women.